Updated: Jan 18
Being a backup at any level of football is never an easy role to undertake, especially when the person at the helm is a perennial all-conference player.
For rookie running back Kerryth Whyte Jr., playing the complimentary role behind Buffalo Bills rookie standout Devin Singletary, required patience and perspective. For what it was worth, Whyte Jr. made the most of his opportunities when they were presented.
In his senior at Florida Atlantic University, both he and Singletary formed one of the best backfields in Conference USA. In addition to rushing for 866 yards and averaging 6.5 yards per carry, he also proved to be a capable kick returner, averaging 28.7 yards on 19 returns with a touchdown. While Whyte Jr. earned second team All-Conference USA honors, Singletary earned first team honors, and the attention which came with that status.
At this year's NFL Scouting Combine, Whyte Jr. posted the second fastest 40-time and made a good enough impression to be selected in the seventh round by Chicago Bears; meanwhile, Singletary was selected three rounds before.
This season, Singletary has emerged as the Bills second leading rusher and destined to be the future of their backfield. For Whyte Jr., he tolled with being cut, relegated to the practice squad.
With an ailing backfield, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him off the Bears practice squad, and was inserted into the roster as a feature back against their conference rival Cincinnati Bengals. As he did in Combine, Whyte Jr. used this stage to make his presence felt. After being stopped for a loss on his first carry, he came back and gained 16 yards on his next attempt.
Throughout the contest, Whyte Jr. continued to answer the bell the same way he did in college, and became crucial to their success on the ground in their victory this past Sunday. As the Steelers continue to suffer casualties on offense, Whyte Jr. is no longer a name signed off the practice squad, rather a key component to their playoff run.